November 1st will be a crucial election for the future of Turkey. Recent polls point to a coalition once again.
Following the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) failure to secure a parliamentary majority, which it had enjoyed for 13 years before the last election, the party is hoping to regain power this Sunday. However, the latest polls show that the outcome of these elections will not be any different from the June 7th results.
In the June election, the AKP received 40.66 percent, the Republican People's Party (CHP) 25.13, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 16.45 and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 12.96 percent. According to polls from Metropoll, Sonar and Gezici, which were very close in predicting the results, the outcome on Sunday will not be much different. HDP is expected to once again surpass the 10 percent threshold and the AKP will be faced again with the option of forming a coalition.
Third election on the horizon
But, as previous negotiation rounds clearly illustrate, the AKP is not willing to settle for a coalition. So, the party is already making plans for a third election due to the results seen so far in the various polls.
This week, AKP Vice Chairman Mehmet Ali Sahin stated that if the results were similar to June 7, new elections could be on the horizon. This has created more public unease, which has been dealing with intensified uncertainty, security threats and continuous attacks on the media since the summer. Sahin's statement attracted strong criticism from the other major political parties. CHP Leader Kilicdaroglu said such statements ahead of planned elections disrespected the people and their rights. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, on the other hand, denied these claims and said “We don't have such an agenda and Turkey cannot handle this.”
The AKP continues to be under fire, not only due to the alleged third election plans, but also due to the recent attacks on the media. MHP Vice President Zuhal Topcu criticized the raid on Ipek Media - known for its ties with the Fethullah Gulen Movement - and the appointment of trustees. Topcu on a televised interview on NTV said “You cannot play games with law. One day it will hit you back like a boomerang”. She also called upon President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to return to acting within the constitutional framework and to call for unity, instead of creating an atmosphere of separation and division.
A fifth party?
It's not only the opposition that is unhappy with President Erdogan, who is one of the four founders of the AKP, but also some of his followers. President Abdullah Gul, who is also a co-founder of the Justice and Development Party, is watching the election process closely. In the political arena, talk of a fifth party is heating up.
However, the rise of a new party from within the ranks of the AKP depends closely on the results of the upcoming elections. If the AKP receives fewer votes than in the previous elections and if President Erdogan continues his policies of creating further divisions within society and persists on blocking any kind of coalition, this could bring about a new formation.
On Sunday, over 54 million voters in Turkey will go to the polls. The voting process for eligible voters living outside Turkey - nearly 3 million people - ended on October 25. However, the polls will remain open at the borders for Turkish citizens living abroad until 5 p.m. on November 1.